NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY JON STEWART | Previously published as Then They Came for Me
When Maziar Bahari left London in June 2009 to cover Iran’s presidential election, he assured his pregnant fiancée, Paola, that he’d be back in just a few days, a week at most. Little did he know, as he kissed her good-bye, that he would spend the next three months in Iran’s most notorious prison, enduring brutal interrogation sessions at the hands of a man he knew only by his smell: Rosewater.
For the Bahari family, wars, coups, and revolutions are not distant concepts but intimate realities they have suffered for generations: Maziar’s father was imprisoned by the shah in the 1950s, and his sister by Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1980s. Alone in his cell at Evin Prison, fearing the worst, Maziar draws strength from his memories of the courage of his father and sister in the face of torture, and hears their voices speaking to him across the years. He dreams of being with Paola in London, and imagines all that she and his rambunctious, resilient eighty-four-year-old mother must be doing to campaign for his release. During the worst of his encounters with Rosewater, he silently repeats the names of his loved ones, calling on their strength and love to protect him and praying he will be released in time for the birth of his first child.
A riveting, heart-wrenching memoir, Rosewater offers insight into the past seventy years of regime change in Iran, as well as the future of a country where the democratic impulses of the youth continually clash with a government that becomes more totalitarian with each passing day. An intimate and fascinating account of contemporary Iran, it is also the moving and wonderfully written story of one family’s extraordinary courage in the face of repression.
“I really connected to Maziar’s story. It’s a personal story but one with universal appeal about what it means to be free.”—Jon Stewart
“An important and elegant book . . . a prison memoir enlarged into a family history.”—The New Republic
“Clear and compelling . . . engaging and informative—a gripping tribute to human dedication and a cogent indictment of a corrupt regime.”—Washington Independent Review of Books
“[Rosewater] is not only a fascinating, human exploration into Bahari’s personal experience . . . it also provides insight into the shared experience of those affected by repressive governments everywhere.”—Mother Jones
“A damning account . . . [Rosewater] turns a lens not only on Iran’s surreal justice system but on the history and culture that helped produce it.”—The Washington Post
“[Rosewater] is a unique achievement. It is a story not just of political cruelty (a subject Bahari treats movingly), but also about the two poles of Iranian political culture, bent together in upheaval.”—The Guardian (UK)
“A beautifully written account of life in Iran, filled with insights not only into the power struggles and political machinations but into the personal, emotional lives of the people living in that complicated country. Maziar Bahari is a brave man and a wonderful storyteller.”—Fareed Zakaria
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In this book, Newsweek correspondent and documentary filmmaker Bahari effectively and systematically details his time in Evin Prison in Tehran, and his interrogation by members of the Revolutionary Guards. Bahari was jailed in June 2009 following the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In poignant passages, Bahari draws parallels between his experiences and those of other family members. His father had been jailed under the Shah in the 1950s; his sister, Maryam, under Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1980s. Bahari relies on stories he heard from them, as well as their strength, to survive solitary confinement. He also describes his relationship with his fianc e, Paola, in London and the impending birth of their daughter. His great desire to reunite with them fuels his struggles in Iran, and gives this sympathetic read added urgency.